Despite being listed at forward on the roster, coach Sylvia Hatchell said that Ruffin-Pratt will serve as the team’s point guard this year — a new position for the senior, who has missed significant time in the past because of injuries.
“She’s going to get better and better with her decision-making,” Hatchell said. “She’s playing point guard, which is a new position really for her, especially with being healthy. But she’s going to continue to improve and knock down shots at the position.
“I’m excited for her because she’s a strong player and is going to be a factor this season.”
After she scored UNC’s first 11 points in the second half, Duquesne tightened the pressure on Ruffin-Pratt. But her ball-handling skills and ability to break presses with her quickness forced the Dukes into foul trouble.
Ruffin-Pratt thought that the ability to break the press was essential to UNC’s comeback.
“We just had to stay calm and play through it. We wanted to play safe, but not play scared. It started with being aggressive with their press,” Ruffin-Pratt said. “It kind of slowed us up a bit so we weren’t running as much as we usually do, but then we picked it up.”
On Sunday, Ruffin-Pratt, along with teammates Krista Gross and Waltiea Rolle, played 36 minutes, including almost the entire second half before she fouled out with around two minutes to go.
Aside from Ruffin-Pratt’s extended time on the floor as a direct indication of her impact to the team, Hatchell said that her senior forward might guard Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers in the semifinal game of the WNIT on Wednesday.
Rodgers scored 35 points in the Hoyas’ preseason WNIT quarterfinal against Delaware on Sunday and has led the Hoyas in scoring the last three seasons.
“We might put Pratt on (Rodgers),” Hatchell said. “That might be able to get in her head a little bit.”
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